Conservative prankster James O’Keefe hires felon to be COO of his nonprofit

By Tom Boggioni
Friday, March 7, 2014 15:17 EDT
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James O'Keefe via screengrab
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According to an investigative report by Liz Farkas and Matthew Phelan at Gawker, ‘gotcha’ filmmaker James O’Keefe  recently hired  family friend and convicted felon  John Landino as an executive at his non-profit Project Veritas organization.

According to Farkas and Phelan, Landino came on board at Project Veritas this past December and has been introducing himself as the organization’s chief operating officer. Additionally, Landino’s projectveritas.com email address identifies him as the COO.

Landino has a colorful history dating back to a 1991 arrest and conviction in New Haven, Connecticut, for felony narcotics possession. Asked about the conviction, Landino said that it was not for heroin, but declined to provide additional information.

In 2007, the IRS filed a $14,086 lien against Landino’s assets for unpaid back taxes with an additional lien for $18,339 filed in 2010 bringing his total unpaid taxes at $32,425. Landino also owed money to his ex-wife for child support, $6,977.40, according to a March 2010 ruling in Bergen County court in New Jersey, which he attributes to “a long post-divorce fight with my ex-wife.”

“In 2008, I lost a job and I was paying a tremendous amount of child support per week, and the judge refused to reduce it,” he told Farkas and Phelan. “And I got behind, and it’s been trailing me ever since.”

In 2008, he was hired by troubled gaming company Phantom Entertainment as its CEO. Before his arrival Phantom’s founder, Timothy Roberts was hit with a judgement for his part in a “pump and dump” stock fraud scheme. Roberts settled with the SEC in 2008, agreeing to pay a $30,000 fine and refrain from participating as an officer or director in any publicly traded company for five years.

Landino was unable to turn Phantom around, recently stating, “There are about 40 judgements against the company that are still live. I didn’t know that that was all there. I thought that this might be a company I could turn around.”

Most recently Landino spent time in jail due to  outstanding traffic violations, an expired license, and failure to pay his child support. According to the report, his bail was supplied by his girlfriend, Amy Junger, but delivered by O’Keefe’s father, James O’Keefe Jr., who told Farkas and Phelan that the bail money came from a bank and that he picked Landino up from jail.

According to Landino, he came to work for Project Veritas after hearing they were looking for a “manager to run the company.”

“I applied, kinda went through a bunch of channels, a bunch of interviews, a bunch of references, and somehow I wound up here.”

Although he has no background in running a non-profit, Landino has already been “active in making fundraising queries and pitching sting ideas.”

Requests for information regarding Landino’s employment have either been denied or, in the case of founder James O’Keefe, ignored.

When asked why no one at Project Veritas would confirm that he was the group’s COO, Landino replied, “What does it matter what position I hold there or not?”

Project Veritas is currently seeking a Director of Development, whose job it is to “have experience and success in making mega-gift asks (50k-100k+).”

Tom Boggioni
Tom Boggioni
Tom Boggioni is based in the quaint seaside community of Pacific Beach in less quaint San Diego. He writes about politics, media, culture, and other annoyances. Mostly he spends his days at the beach gazing at the horizon waiting for the end of the world, or the sun to go down. Whichever comes first.
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